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[TR] Chamonix, FR - Variation on the Contamine/Rebuffat S. Face, Midi 4/18/2011

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Trip: Chamonix, FR - Variation on the Contamine/Rebuffat S. Face, Midi


Date: 4/18/2011


Trip Report:



This winter that wasn't (l'hiver qui n'a jamais été) has caused the rock to come into condition a month earlier than last year. I started this weekend with a beautiful crag situated above the lac d'Annecy, on the North Shore bra.


Michel Piola, who put up a lot of bolted routes in the Aiguilles Rouges of Chamonix and the l'envers, bolted some nasty-hard overhanging sport routes in this scenic limestone crag.





After a leisurely day of pulling-tuff, we enjoyed coca-colas and glaces, with our multi-national team.



The next day I went up to Chamonix to meet up with Tom-dick-yank. We wanted to do the Bonatti Couloir on the Petit Mont Blanc, but missing skins and desire to get on some alpine splitter forced us to reconsider. So, we decided on a variation of the giga-classic Rebuffat route on the S. Piller of the Aiguille du Midi.

The original plan was go ultra-mega-fast in our custom aerodynamic morph suits designed for our assault. We planned to rap off the top (walking distance from the top cable-car). 524680-morphsuit.jpg


However, recent snow made it look like a dick-around so we put our pumas back on and went 4-star glacier jogging.



A few minutes later we arrived at the base of this throbbing tower of golden-pink alpine granite.



We started up the Contamine route in the company of the the only other group: some friendly Americans. Great minds think alike. We were quickly into the fabled s-cracks of the Rebuffat route which I wanted to send on lead since I first epiced on them about a year ago. Tom creaming up the cracks.




Tom sending the second part of the s-cracks. We were concerned that temps would be too cold to climb, but they sure weren't. Even with temps well below freezing we enjoyed sun that permitted us to climb in shirts.



The next pitch was 'mixed' climbing. Ice filled a lot of the jam-cracks and I had fun repeatedly slipping out of the cracks and then sliding backwards on ramps of snow-covered ice in my climbing shoes. It was good training.



Tom sending the next pitch, a nice walk among icicles. "Does anyone have an ice screw? My cam won't go in."



As always, excellent ambience.



Tom on the summit block just before the summit crux. Tom and I decided to do the variation exit: two sporty, fantastic arete-climbing pitches that take you to the true summit of the piler.



Gear Notes:

pumas, gauffres, stimulation drinks.


Approach Notes:

10 minute jog from the top of the midi.

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